Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko ★★★★

"Why are you wearing that stupid man-suit?"

Director's Cut

What would you do if you found out your odd, nightly habits happened to save your life?

The frustrated and disaffected youth, mainly personified by Donnie, rails against the endless hypocrisy of the adults. "Donnie Darko" deals with a lot, all at once, though. The weighty concept of time travel, of course. First love. Paranoid schizophrenia. Charlatans and predators posing as humanitarians. Nihilism and disassociation. And it does all of this intelligently, but not exactly succinctly.

It's very possible that Jake Gyllenhaal was cast mainly for that sometimes pained, menacing look that he gives through most of the film's runtime, and not just his acting ability. But he does, in fact, give so much in this role at such a young age.

Swayze is amazing, a delight, a joy. Grant is always great in these types of roles. This is probably Duval's best performance to date. Osborne is very good, but it's his character that is impressively written, with the relationship between Donnie and his father feeling like it stands out for its time. McDonnell is similar, and perfect in every scene.

This film rocks a killer 80s soundtrack, while Andrews's actual score is dark, brooding, and simply effective (and Andrews's and Jules's cover of "Mad World" is brilliant, and the best version of the song don't @ me). Both create a perfect allegory for the gilded 80s - which can also be found in the two acts seen in the talent show. One of beauty, art from the soul, and true creation; and one of soulless popular production, which gains the audience's real affection.

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